South Carolina has the dubious distinction of being the first state to secede from the United States, in 1860. You could say that they had very strong feelings on the issue of slavery. If they’re still up for it, I say let them leave. Craigslist is way more important than they are.
Congratulations to Craigslist for standing up to South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and demanding an apology. The situation they find themselves in, facing threatened criminal prosecution, is absurd. I stand by my post last night that Craigslist should simply shut down the South Carolina site permanently, and discontinue any negotiations with the state. McMaster has no basis for threatening civil or criminal action, and this is clearly just a way for him to get press in his bid for governor. A Facebook group has sprung up around this as well.
But as an aside, this whole drama has made me wonder, just how important is South Carolina anyway? If it really came down to choosing between South Carolina and Craigslist, how many people would rather have South Carolina?
South Carolina a former slave state that has less than 4.5 million people and a median income of under $40,000/year, 39th in the U.S. 92% of the state’s residents are Christian, and the gross state product is around $150 billion. A main driver of economic activity is tobacco, and the Klu Klux Klan has a vibrant and active chapter in the state. On the upside, I hear Myrtle beach is nice, and my co-editor Erick Schonfeld’s mother lives there.
Compare that to Craigslist, which doesn’t have any physical territory but boasts 46 million monthly visitors in the U.S. alone, making it nearly ten times the size of South Carolina. The site has been a significant factor in disrupting old media, particularly newspapers, by making classified listings free. Craigslist has made the lives of tens of millions of people better by helping them get rid of unwanted couches, find a new job, or rent an apartment. And it has never charged much for what it does – it is a classic case of giving more than taking.
If you really had to choose, which is more important to you, Craigslist or South Carolina? Which has the bigger positive impact on our culture, and which adds more utility to your daily existence. Craigslist wins hands down.
That’s why I’d be very upset if McMaster has his way and puts Craigslist management behind bars. Or even if his attacks have the effect of chilling the freedom-loving Craigslist community. Kick South Carolina out of the Union (we can add Puerto Rico or Canada afterwards if we really need a nice round number of 50 states). Build a wall around it to stop the inflow of federal dollars. We don’t want to do this, but the dangerously self-serving and backwards thinking of the state’s elected leadership leaves us no choice.
But don’t touch Craigslist. It’s too important.
What do you think? Take the poll below. And remember, even though what I’m proposing is absurd, how would you really answer?